Something For The Weekend 21/02/20

by Chris Proctor

Have you noticed how much it’s rained since we got Brexit done?

Streets have turned into rivers, rivers have turned into houses, drains have turned into geysers and geezers have seen their lawns turn into ponds.

A disaster, people have called it. A terrible blow to the nation. A catastrophe.

What utter nonsense.

Yes, people have been left homeless. Yes, their treasures have been destroyed. Yes, trees, cars and carpets have disappeared.

But let’s not forget that the precipitation in question is British. No longer is it tainted with the garlic of Gaul or the hamburger of the Hun. We are being pee-ed upon by good, old fashioned British rain.

It feels good, the lashing of the rainstorm of freedom.

Only a month or so ago, that rain would have been European.

I was proud to stride to where my desk, washed away by flooding, sat in the field over the road. I squelched into my chair and unzipped a banana the shape of a horseshoe. Only weeks ago I would have been flogged by the burgers of Brussels for consuming a banana they deemed irregular. Not today. Today, I chew the fruit of the free.

And as I sit with my sodden clothes clinging to my soaked body, lashed by 90 mph winds, chilled to the bone with mould festering on my gaiters, I think of those foreigners lining up at the Channel eager to invade my sovereign homeland. Happily, we have made that a pipe-dream. The government has announced that there will be no visas for low-skilled workers: which means jobs for all us Brits.

Those Europeans used to come over here picking our fruit off our trees. Well they can forget that! Someone else will do it.

I’m not entirely sure who that will be, but someone will turn up. And if they don’t, let’s all remember Dunkirk. If we can assemble a fleet to rescue 338,226 British soldiers, I’m damned well sure we can pick a few plums.

In fact, one of the positive outcomes of our principled Brexit decision is that we will soon have thousands of unemployed former car workers in the north-east. They can easily trot down to Kent and start working excessive hours at tedious harvesting jobs for a pittance. But that pittance, let me remind you, will be paid out in (copper) British coinage. As one of our slogans said, ‘British jobs for British workers.’

Brexit has already been a huge success. There were reports that the Europeans intended to silence our church bells; that barmaids would be required to wear polo-neck sweaters; that fishing boats would have to carry condoms; that our hospitals would be forced to employ people who do not speak English; and that women would be made to publicly recycle their old vibrators before they would be allowed to purchase a new one.

Thanks to our Tory government, none of these things have come to pass. We’ve fought them off. ‘Get Brexit Done,’ they said. Sort it out once and for all. Finished.

And they’ve delivered. I’ve not heard a word about Brexit for weeks. Not a squeak. It’s as if the whole episode never existed.

Of course this may be due to the fact that since the flooding we’ve had no electricity so there’s been no telly. But I don’t think there was much left for Boris to do apart from negotiating a trade deal with the European Union. How long can that take?

It’s simply a matter of agreeing a formal and unanimous negotiating mandate with 27 varied vested interests, or members states as they are also known. And then sorting out security and law enforcement arrangements. Just a few peripheral details like that. Have it done in no time.

But best of all is the news that we don’t have to bother about our health any more. We can all be as ill as we want, now the NHS is awash with cash. Boris promised that once Brexit was done - and it is - our health service would benefit to the tune of an additional £350 million a week. That money’s been flooding in with the storm clouds for a couple of month’s now, so our health service has benefitted from an additional £3 billion already!

So while I might be half-drowned, beset by pneumonia, suffering from hoof rot and inconvenienced by a tree branch up my jacksy, I can cheerfully whistle ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and hail a gleaming Mercedes ambulance to take me to the five-star medical and surgical treatment centre. There I can be confident I’ll be expertly diagnosed and operated upon by a former Nissan plant assembly worker on her way to Kent.

Chris Proctor has been head of communications at ASLEF and the Communication Workers Union, written for the Sunday Times, The Guardian, the New Statesman and Tribune, and is a columnist for the NUJ’s magazine The Journalist.

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